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The earls of Cromartie; their kindred, country, and correspondence (Volume 2) online

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dans cette marclie quelques baggages et environs 200 hommes tues, blesses ou pris

Aussi tot que nous fumnies arrives a Nollendorf, le Marechal fit partir le gros
baggage sous I'escorte de 3 battalions et de quelques hussards qui y avoient ^tes
depuis quelque tems aux ordres du Major-General Asseburg ; ce General eut ordre
de faire occuper par un parti de son Corps les defiles de Gotliebe et de Gesliebe
par oil I'arm^e devoit passer le lendemain pour rentrer en Saxe ; par cet precau-
tion nous marchammes le 30 sans molestation et formammes deux camps, I'un a
Cotta de 12 battalions et 20 esquadrons sous les ordres de Prince Maurice d'Anhalt
Dessau, I'autre commande par le Marechal, a Geos. Le dernier de Juliet le corps
du Marechal marchoit a Pirna ; le Prince Maurice devoit rester pres de Cotta pour
couvrir la Saxe de ce cote la ; la 2 d' Aout nous marchammes a Dresde oil nous
passammes I'Elbe ; la 3™® I'armee marchoit a Eadbeck et le 4 a Bishofswerda. Le
Eoi etoit toujours a Weissenberg avec un corps, le Prince de Bevern avec un autre
corps etoit pres de Gorlitz, et le Lieutenant-General AVinterfeldt etoit poste encore
plus a gauche, dans les Montagues entre la Boheme et la Lucace, avec quelques

Tel etoit la situation de I'armee Prussienne le IG d'Aout C£uand je la c^uittai
pour me rendre en Pomeranie. Ces 5 corps puvoient monter alors a environs
70,000 hommes. Je tachai de m'informer, avant mon depart de I'armee Prus-
sienne, a quoy puvoit aller leur perte pendant la campagne de Boheme, et plusieurs
de leur ofiiciers m'assurerent C|ue cela montoit a 80,000 hommes, que la moitie de
cet nombre avoit ete tue, blesse, ou faite prisoniers, et qu'ils avoient perdu I'autre
moitie jiar la desertion. Fin.




OF Geandvale and Ceomartie,

Second surviving son of George first Earl of Cromaetie.

Bou'N circa 1658; died 1729.

am KENNETH MACKENZIE was the third-born son of the first Earl of
Cromartie ; but by the death of Roderick Mackenzie, his eldest brother,
he became the Earl's second surviving son.

Some years after his elevation to the peerage in 1685, the Earl put his son
Kenneth into possession of the estate of Cromartie, which he had purchased from
the Urquharts a few years previously; and in 1704 he also resigned his baronetcy
for a regrant in favour of Sir Kenneth, bearing the precedency of the original
patent of 1628. The object which Lord Cromartie had in view in thus providing
the estate of Cromartie and his baronetcy to Sir Kenneth, was to establish a
branch of his family, to be known as the Mackenzies of Cromartie ; and, for
a time, his aim seemed to be realised. Sir Kenneth married, and had a large
family of sons. But although his eldest son, George, inherited the estate of
Cromartie, and married, he had no family. He sold the estate, and only one of
his brothers, Kenneth, inherited the title of baronet. Sir Kenneth, the third
baronet, however, and all his brothers died without issue ; and thus, in the course
of two short generations, the object of Lord Cromartie in establishing the branch
of the Mackenzies of Cromartie entirely failed. A notice of Sir Kenneth the first,
when a young man, occurs in a letter from Hugh Dallas to his father, Lord
Tarbat, of which an extract follows :—

24th March 1G94.

... I think ye and your son slepps over and forgetts these wrytts off the estate off
Cromartie, and the best and most off them, that ly in Brodie's hands, and I cannot help that.
Alway about a quarter a year agoe I gave Brodie's subscryved inventar of them, with his


holograpli letters, direct for me, still promising to delyver the papers, upon recept of liis
iuventar forsaid and obleidgment on the end off it, to your son Cromartie, upon his recept
to me, togither with my information and desyre that he should goe to Brodie and gett the
papers, and withaU to be merrie, and take a religious quaich and glass of good liquor with
the honest gentleman. But nothing done as yet ; so pairt tuixt yow and your son. Alway
for that neglect and laziness I did yesterday, in my own house, by words (and some of them
improper), hinder and abuse him ; and he promised to make amends for that fault shortly.
I look upon your son as a brave gentleman, and I think will doe very weell in business,
and spill nothing. But reallie my opinion is that he will prove a second Sir Ludovick for
pivishness, churleing, and gathering ; and in that not lyke his old father. And I marvell
what sorrow makes your Lordship does not ty him to marriage, to which I can nather see or
hear that he hes any inclination, for which I expostulat with him yesterday, and told him
if it was for greed off gear he was, and so waited that opportunitie, and not be content with
what he hade, I advysed him getting j^our consent to goe presently court and marie Abraham
Leslie off Fendrassie, be which he wold gett neir fourtie chalders off heretage, wheroff neir
threttie contiguous to Cromartie ; and your son said franklie he wold tell it, and gave me
comission be word to move the motion to Fendrassie. And I will doe it ifif your Lordship
allow me be letter ; for without your ordor I will nather medle nor mak with your sons in
business, for they ai-e kneiff boyes, and I not for their handling, except to flytt with them,
and in that I am alse good as the best of them, and will not spare them as occasion requyrs,
being your sones.^

Sir Kenneth and his younger brother, Sir James Mackenzie of Royston,
were created baronets in the same year, the patent of the latter being dated the
8th of February 1704. Sir Kenneth's patent was dated on the 29th of April
1704, and contained the original precedency of the patent of his grandfather,
Sir John, who was created a baronet in 1628. Sir Kenneth was Member of
Parliament for the county of Cromartie in the reigns of King William and
Queen Anne. Like his father, he warmly supported the treaty of Union with
England ; and he was one of the members nominated by the Parliament of Scot-
land, on 13th February 1707, to sit in the United Parliament of Great Britain.
He was chosen Member for the county of Cromartie at the general election in
1710. He was re-chosen in 1727, and he died in 1729. A new writ for that
county was ordered on 2 2d January 1729, in consequence of his decease, and his
eldest son, Sir George, was elected as his successor.

Like the other members of his family. Sir Kenneth was a correspondent of
his father, Lord Cromartie. The following letter is quoted as a specimen of
his correspondence: —

1 Letter at Tarbat House.


Cromertie, May 9 [circa 1704].

My Lord, — Now that I understand the Parliment is to sitt, I woud gladly know your
Lordship's pleasure as to my coming or not. The truth is, I was never worse boden of money.
But if my coming cane be of use to your Lordship, I shall make many shifts. I gott very
litle thanks from the King's servants for my former zeall, and expects as litle from the Queen's.
Sed tu mihi Meccenas.

I must now complain of Bernard M^Kenzie, whom you have made Bishoj)e. He carries
to me, for what reason I know not, disobligeingly and unkindly, and does all he cane to put
my neighboures and me by the eares. He calls them fooUs for allowing me the casualities of
their fish-boats, and will needs have them raise declarators of their rights, and told me to my
face he woud make Cromertie a brugh royall. He is also very positive that he will exact
the dignities' teynds, at least the dean's, who is five years since dead. I thought fitt to
acquant your Lordship of tliis, that you may know what kind of people they are you procure
favoures for. I know no apologie cane be made for him, but that he is alwayes drunk. He
fancies I stand in his way from buying Dunskeath's interest, wherin he was mistaken. But
now I will doe all I cane to make him pey dear for it, for I desire noe such a neighbour. I
begg your Lordship may testifie your resentment to such ungratitud, and acquant me of your
commands by the post if occatione offer, not otherwayes. I give my most humble duty to
my Lady, and ame,

Your Lordship's obedient sone and humble servant,

Ken. McKenzie.

Sir Kenneth Mackenzie married before the year 1701, Anne Campbell; and
of that marriage there were six sons and several daughters.^ The sons were —

(1.) George, who succeeded.

(2.) Colin, who was baptised on 6th January 1703.

(3.) James, who was born on 20th February 1709.

(4.) Campbell, who was born and baptised on 8th November 1710.

(5.) Gerard, who was born on 27th September 1712.

(6.) Kenneth, the date of whose birth is not recorded. He succeeded his
brother, Sir George, in the baronetcy.

Colin, James, Campbell, and Gerard appear to have all died young and un-
married, as their youngest brother, Kenneth, succeeded to their eldest brother.
Sir George, in his title of baronet.

One of the daughters of Sir Kenneth was Catherine, who married Dr. Adam
Murray, physician in Stirling, and died there on 17th June 1755. Another of
Sir Kenneth's daughters was Margaret Mackenzie. In a letter from Simon Lord

^ Eegisters of the parish of Croniartie.


Lovat to the Laird of Grant, he writes that he had the honour and pleasure to
have a visit from a very agreeable lady, INIrs. Margaret Mackenzie, a daughter of
Sir Kenneth Mackenzie of Cromartie. She stayed at Beaufort with his Lordship
five or six days, and they were very merry.^

Soon after that meeting, as will be seen in the memoir of her brother, Sir
George, Margaret Mackenzie, Lady Margaret as she is there called, had a cruel
fate on the sale of Cromartie by her brother.


Second Baronet under the Eegrant of 1704.

Sir George was the eldest son and successor of Sir Kenneth. He also suc-
ceeded his father in the representation in Parliament of the county of Cromartie,
having been elected Member in 1729.

Sir George was a correspondent of his cousin. Lord Tarbat, afterwards third
Earl of Cromartie. In a letter, dated Edinburgh, April 2, 1730, he says, "I have
no news to divert you, the companie being mostly gone out of toun. They have
lately gott some new strolers doun who performed last night with some applause.
The house, which is a very little pitefull hole, was very full of very homely course
women. In short, I coud not have thought there Avere so many ugly devills in
Edenburgh as I saw there. Your old freind Lady Mary was there, Avho is yet
somewhat tolerable, but grows every day less a beauty and more a fool. As ane
instance of her wisdom, she has lately refused Mr. Murray of Abercairny, a well
looking ladde, and a very good estate, because he 's not quality." ^

The affairs of Sir George became emljarrassed, and his estate of Cromartie was
sold in 1741 to Captain William Urquhart of Meldrum.

At the sale a question arose about the use of the Girnel house and the port of
Cromartie by the Earl of Cromartie. It is thus stated in a letter, dated 17th
December 1741, by Mr. John Baillie, Writer to the Signet in Edinburgh, to George
third Earl of Cromartie : —

^ Original Letter, dated from Beaufort, 24tli April 1740, at Castle Grant.
- Original Letter at Tarbat House.



" I did, before Sir George M°Kenzie's estate was rouped, enter a protest in your Lordship's
name as to the use of the Girnel house and the port and harbour of Cromertie, when your
Lordship should have occasion for it ; as also on seing Sir Kenneth's charter under the great
seal, which is in bad Latin, I imagined your Lordship had also the use of passage free on the
ferry. But upon looking into the dispositions from the Earl to his son, it is not there, tho'
in the Latin it would seem the waiTant or disposition had it. Your Lordship will peruse the
inclosed petition, and acquaint Mr. Gordon, or me, what answer to make to it, for Captain
Urquhart, the real purchaser, is inclined to shun all occasion of debate with your Lordshij).
The use of the port and harbour cannot be denyd your Lordship. But should the Girnell
become ruinous, the question is who should keep it up, and if it be worth your Lordship's
while to be at charge about it, and am affraid there is no ground for the passage in the ferry,
tho' I would ommit no oportunity to vindicate your right by entring the protest." ^

The Girnel house referred to by Mr. Baillie was used for storing the corn
that was to be shipped at the Ness. The first Earl of Cromartie frequently
chartered ships to convey grain from his estates in Cromartie to the port of Leith.

On the death of his uncle, Lord Royston, in 1744, Sir George Mackenzie was
the heir to the title of Baronet. He was then a double Baronet, the one dating
from 1628, and the other from 1704. But although thus possessed of two
baronetcies, he was soon to part with his only estate of Cromartie.

The following graphic account of the late years of Sir George Mackenzie of
Cromartie, and of his sale of the estate to one with the name of the ancient
possessors, is given in a popular work by a distinguished native of the town of
Cromartie : —

" Sir George, in his younger days, had been, like his grandfather the Earl, a stirring, active,
man of business. He was a staunch Tory, and on the downfall of Oxford, and the coming in
of the Whigs, he continued to fret away the very energies of his character in a fruitless,
splenetic opposition, until at length, losing heart in the contest, from being one of the most
active he became one of the most indolent men in the country. He drank hard, lived grossly,
and seemed indifferent to everything. And never were there two persons better suited to each
other than the lawyer and Sir George. The lawyer was always happiest in his calculations
when his books were open to the inspection of no one but himself ; and the laird, though he
had a habit of reckoning over the bottle, commonly fell asleep before the amount was cast up.
An untoward destiny, however, proved too hard for MaccuUoch in even this office. Apatheti-
cal as Sir George was deemed, there was one of his feelings which had survived the wreck of
all the others : that one a rooted aversion to the town of Cromarty, and in particular to that
part of the country adjacent, which was his own property. No one — least of all himself —
could assign any cause for this aversion, but it existed and grew stronger every day ; and the
consequences were ruinous to MaccuUoch, for in a few years after he had appointed him to the
^ Original Letter at Tarbat House.


factorship, he disposed of all his lands to a Mr. Williani Urquhart of Meldrum, a transaction
which is said to have had the effect of converting his antipathy into regret. The factor set
himself to seek out for another master, and in a manner agreeable to his character. He pro-
fessed much satisfaction that the estate should have passed into the hands of so excellent a
gentleman as Mr. Urquhart, and proposed to some of the townsfolks that they should eat to
his prosperity in a public dinner, and light up a constellation of bonfires on the heights which
overlook the bay. The proposal took ; the dinner was attended by a party of the more
respectable inhabitants, and the bonfires by all the children.

" A sister of Sir George's, the Lady Margaret, who a few years before had shared in the
hopes and principles of her cousin, Lord Cromartie, and who had witnessed, with no common
sensation of grief, the disastrous termination of the enterprise in which he had been led to
engage, was at this time the only tenant of Cromarty Castle. She had resided in the house
of Lord George previous to his attainder, but, on that event, she had come to Cromarty to
live with her brother. His low habits of intemperance proved to her a fruitful source of
vexation ; but how was the feeling deepened when in about a week after he had set out on a
hasty journey, the purpose of which he refused to explain, she received a letter from him,
informing her that he had sold all his lands. She saw in a step so rash and unadvised the
final ruin of her family, and felt with peculiar bitterness that she had no longer a home.
Leaning over a window of the castle, she was indulging in the feelings her circumstances sug-
gested, and looking with an unavailing but natural regret on the fields and hamlets which had
so soon become the property of a stranger, when Macculloch and his followers came marching
out on the lawn below from the adjoining wood, and began to pile on a little eminence in
front of the castle the materials of a bonfire. It seemed, from the effect produced on the poor
lady, that it was only necessary entirely to overpower her that she should be shown that the
circumstance which was so full of distress to her was an occasion of rejoicing to others. For
a few seconds she seemed stupified by the shouts and exultations of the party below, and
then clasping her hands upon her breast, she burst into tears and hurried to her apartment.
As the evening darkened into night, the light of the huge fire without was reflected through
a window on the curtains of her bed. She requested her attendant to shut it out, but the
■wild shouts of Macculloch's followers, which were echoed until an hour after midnight by the
turrets above and the vaults below, could not be excluded. In the morning Lady Margaret
was in a high fever, and in a few days after she was dead.

" The first to welcome the new laird to his property was Macculloch the factor. Urquhart
of Meldrum, or Captain Urquhart, as he was termed, had made his money on sea, — some said
as the master of an Indiaman, some as the captain of a privateer. He was a rough, un-
polished man, fond of a riide joke, and disposed to seek his companions among farmers and
mechanics rather than among the people of a higher sphere. But with all his rudeness, he was
shrewd and intelligent, and qualified by a peculiar tact to be a judge of men. When Maccul-
loch was sho^vn into his room, he neither returned his bow, nor motioned him to a seat,
though the lawyer, no way daunted, proceeded to address him in a long train of compliments
and congratulations. 'Humph,' replied the captain. * Ah,' thought the lawyer, 'you will
at least hear reason.' He proceeded to state that as he had been entrusted with the sole


iiianagenient of Sir George's affairs, he was better acquainted than any one else with the
resources of the estate, and the character of the tenants, and that should Mr. Urquhart please to
continue him in his office he would convince him he was the fittest person to occupy it to his
advantage. 'Humph,' replied the captain, 'for how many years, sir lawyer, have you been
factor to Mackenzie ? ' ' For about five,' was the reply. ' And was he not a good master ? "
' Yes, sir, rather good, certainly, — but his unfortunate habits.' 'His habits! — he drunk grog,

did he not ? and served it out for himself ? — mark me, sir factor, you are a mean rascal,

and shall never finger a jDenny of mine. You found in Mackenzie a good simple fellow, wlid
employed you when no one else would ; but no sooner had he iinshijiped himself than you
hoisted colours for me, — you, whom, I suppose, you could tie up to the yard-arm for somewhat
less than a bred hangman would tie up a thief for, — aye, that you could. I have heard of
your dinner, sir, and your bonfires, and of the death of Lady Margaret (had you another
bonfire for that ? ), and now tell you once for all that I despise you as one of the meanest

rascals that ever turned tail on a friend in distress. Off, sir, here is the door.' Such was

the reward of MaccuUocli. In a few years after he had sunk into poverty and contempt, ohl-
instance of many, that rascality, however profitable in the degree, may be carried into a
ruinous extreme, and that he who sets out w"ith a determination of cheating every one, may
at length prove too cunning for eveu himself." ^

The above picture is probably much over coloured in regard to all the
characters introduced into it; and such traditions require to be received with

Sir George Mackenzie of Cromartie married, about the year 1747, Elizabeth,
sister of Captain John Eeid of Greenwich, without issue. Sir George died in
May 1748, and was buried at Dingwall, probably in the ground of the Cromartie
family there. This appears from a letter from John Mackenzie of Meddat to the
third Earl of Cromartie, dated 27th May 1748, in which he mentions Sir George's
death. He says — " I wrot your Lordship by last post that Sir George was Aver}'
badd. He died last Fryday night, and was interred yeasterday at Dingwall.
There was a hansome interment, and the most of the gentlemen of the name were
there. He was long thinking of matromony, and it soon gott the better of him.
I was told he left all to his lady." -

Lady Mackenzie survived her husband, Sir George, for the long period of fifty-
nine years, and died at Inverness' on 24th August 1807, aged 84 years.^ She had
an annuity of £50 out of the interest of the surplus price of Eoystoun, when it
was granted to Lord Macleod in 1766, the payment to begin from the death, in
1763, of Sir Kenneth Mackenzie of Cromartie, the younger brother of Sir George.

^ Scenes and Legends of the North of Scot- - Letter at Tarbat House,

land, by Hugh Miller, pp. 353-7. ^ Scots Magazine, vol. Ixix. p. 799.







On the death of Sir George in 1748, his brother Kenneth succeeded, and
became the fifth baronet from the original creation of the title in the year 1628,
and the third from the regrant of 1704. Sir Kenneth possessed the baronetcy
for fifteen years. He never married, and died in the year 1763, when the
baronetcy lay dormant until revived by Alexander Mackenzie, Lieutenant-Colonel
in the service of the East India Company, who assumed the title of baronet as
the heir-male collateral of the Honourable Sir Kenneth Mackenzie of Grandvale
and Cromartie, the first of this branch, who obtained the regrant of the dignity
in 1704. Sir Alexander Mackenzie was descended from Alexander, the fourth
son of Sir John jMackenzie of Tarbat, the first Baronet.

A description of the ancient castle of Cromartie, as it Avas possessed by the
family of Urquhart, is given in a subsequent Chapter on the Baronies, by the
same distinguished native of Cromartie already quoted.


Third surviving son of the first Earl of Cromartik.

Born 1671; died 1744.


Elizabeth Mackenzie of Rosehaugh.

R. JAMES MACKENZIE was born in the year 1G71. He became a
student at the University of Oxford, where he was noted for his modest
behaviour and close application to his studies. Professor David Gregorie,
Avriting to Lord Croniartie on the 25th of March 1693, says, "I may assure
your Lordship that his whole conduct while at Oxon has been such as your
Lordship would have approved every step of it hade you been present." Mr.
William Strachan, writing from Oxford on 27tli September 1693, specially about
Mr. Mackenzie's studies there, says, " He has spent his time very diligently in his
studies, and the daily improvements that he makes therein do give just grounds to
hope that he will prove a comfort to his relations, and an ornament to his country.
His civil and prudent carriage has recommended him very much to the favour
and good esteem of Dr. Bouchier, our professor of law, Dr. Charlet, and several
other persons of considerable note in this university. I am only sorry we are so
soon deprived of his company, for this day he is parted from hence on his journey
to Holland." As to living at Oxford, he adds, " I know some people are of
opinion that it is mighty cheap and easie living in this place, but when they
come to make trial of it they find it quite otherwise." Professor Gregorie, in a
postscript to this letter, referring to a report of a quarrel between Mr. Mackenzie
and some of his felloAV-students, says it could only be because he was civil and
modest and made close application to his studies, which might make some of
them foresee that the figure he would make afterwards would surpass theirs.^

On leaving Oxford Mr. Mackenzie went to the University of Utrecht, in the

Online LibraryWilliam FraserThe earls of Cromartie; their kindred, country, and correspondence (Volume 2) → online text (page 39 of 56)